Michigan Estate Planning Lawyer Debunks Estate Planning Myths [Part 1]

While estate planning objectives and the best options for achieving those goals can vary dramatically, all adults can benefit from at least a simple estate plan.  A range of factors might dictate an individual’s specific estate planning needs, such as a simple will, living trust, financial power of attorney, advance health care directive and more.  Unfortunately, many people postpone even rudimentary estate planning decisions because of common misconceptions based on prevalent estate planning myths.  As an experienced Michigan estate planning lawyer, Mathew Abraham often receives calls from people after they have already experienced the consequences of inadequate estate planning that results in frustrated intentions, unnecessary probate, personal family turmoil, or tax expenses and loss of control of health care decisions.  This article is intended to dispel some common myths about estate planning to help promote better planning and decision-making.

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Myth 1- Estate planning is for the rich, retirees and senior citizens, and not young adults.

This is probably the most common misconception about the benefits of estate planning.  While young adults might have different priorities and needs, estate planning is not a process that is only relevant to rich or older people.  If you are involved in a car accident, you can suffer catastrophic injuries that include spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries or even death.  Without adequate estate planning, a conservator and guardian would have to be appointed by a court to make important financial and medical decisions as opposed to the person you would designate and want to make such decisions.  If you are a single parent, a guardianship proceeding might be necessary, so that a court can appoint someone to care for your children if you are incapacitated or die unexpectedly. This should be a choice made by parents, not the courts.

If you are injured at work or in an accident, your ability to continue working could also be compromised.  Planning regarding life insurance, disability insurance and similar tools to protect your family’s financial security can determine whether your children can afford to continue their school or you can afford mortgage payments on your family home.  Although the estate priorities of young adults might be different than seniors, this does not make planning for the future any less important.

Myth 2- There is no need to spend money on an estate planning attorney because there are plenty of DIY self-help solutions for developing an estate plan.

While it is true that there are an abundance of low cost DIY options for estate planning, such as DIY legal guides, estate planning software and pre-printed forms that can be purchased at office supply stores, these options are high risk alternatives.  Our Michigan estate planning law firm frequently talks to clients who learn the high cost of these budget cutting alternatives when a trust is never funded; a will fails to comply with Michigan law; or an estate is diminished by avoidable taxes or probate-related expenses.

The first step in crafting an effective estate plan involves analysis of your assets and debts, family relationships, potential tax liabilities and other considerations relevant to customizing an estate plan to your unique circumstances.  A pre-printed form cannot be modified to fit an individual’s specific needs and situation.  Further, DIY solutions will often be based on “general legal principles” rather than the specific requirements of Michigan law.  Another disadvantage with DIY options is that you do not have the benefit of legal advice from an experienced estate planning professional.  Estate planning attorneys have legal training and are regulated by state bar associations, so you can expect competency and diligence. The expertise and perspective of an experienced estate planning attorney having seen so many scenarios, good and bad, is invaluable insight and benefit to clients looking to establish an effective and efficient estate plan that will actually accomplish their goals and wishes.

Take Control of your Plan

The bottom line is that effective estate planning involves an analysis of a broad spectrum of diverse facts and circumstances to each client along with a knowledge of many areas of law including probate, estate planning, tax law, insurance law, property law and more.  Abraham Law and Mathew J. Abraham have been providing effective legal representation to individuals and businesses for over twenty-five years. Abraham Law takes a common sense approach to the practice of law delivering sound advice and professional legal services unique to each client.  If you have questions about estate planning or probate issues, please call us at 810-750-0440 or submit an online request to schedule an appointment or teleconference.  We offer a free initial consultation to determine the specific needs of each of our clients.

Abraham | Law:  Experienced and Exceptional Estate Planning Representation

Michigan Estate Planning Attorney Mathew J. Abraham and ABRAHAM | LAW have been providing effective legal representation to individuals and businesses for over twenty years.  If you have questions about estate planning or probate issues, you should call ABRAHAM | LAW at 810-750-0440 or submit an online request to schedule an initial consultation.